Identity theft is a crime that is taken very seriously in Ohio. Characterized as a felony, even minor identity theft offenses are punishable by a 6 to 18-month prison sentence and a $2,500 fine. In the worst cases, where elderly, disabled, or active military persons are defrauded, the sentences are very stiff. Convicted identity thieves in Ohio can face up to 11 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. However, identity theft is still on the rise in the Buckeye State. This is why it’s important to know what to do if your identity is stolen. For example, how do you report identity theft to the credit bureaus?
The Importance of Reporting Identity Theft to the Credit Bureaus in Ohio
When you discover that you’re the victim of identity theft, you’ll suddenly have a giant to-do list. You’ll need to file a police report, notify your lenders and those lenders who were duped into lending money to the identity thief in your name, put a freeze on your checking account, and put blocks on your credit card accounts.
Next, you should contact the credit bureaus and ask them to place fraud alerts on your credit files. You can request a fraud alert from one credit bureau and it will notify the other two credit bureaus. Still, it may be wise to just go ahead and request fraud alerts to be placed on all three of your credit reports.
When you contact a credit bureau about initiating the fraud alert, you should state that you are a victim of identity theft. After you’ve verified your identity, the credit bureau should tell you how to get a free copy of your credit report. This is important because you will need to see whether fraudulent accounts have been opened in your name.
Make sure that you get copies of your credit report from all three credit bureaus. Often, information is reported to one or two of them, but not all of them. Therefore, if you don’t review a particular credit report after an identity theft event, you could easily miss one or more fraudulent accounts. This could spell major trouble down the road.
The initial fraud alerts that you initiate will stay active for 90 days. In extreme cases of identity theft where the damage is extensive, Ohio consumers can opt to place and extended fraud alert, which will last for seven years. All fraud alerts are free to place.
How Identity Theft Victims in Ohio Can Get Free Credit Repair
Recovering from identity theft can be a long and painful process, and it’s even worse if fraudulent accounts are allowed to linger on your credit reports. If this happens, your credit score can suffer, and you might miss out on a lot of opportunities. For example, you’ll probably get higher interest rates on new loans. You may even be denied credit altogether, and this just isn’t fair.
At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we believe that victims of identity theft should be offered as much help as possible when it comes to getting their credit reports cleaned up. This is why we offer FREE legal assistance to Ohio residents. A FREE credit repair lawyer is available to any consumer who’s dealing with the aftermath of identity theft or anyone who just has errors on their credit reports.
Don’t let fraudulent accounts and other errors on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? All of our fees come from the defendants in cases that are settled. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.